doug ford announcement

Here are the new restrictions just announced for bars and restaurants in Ontario

Ontario Premier Doug Ford graciously welcomed constituents into yet another iteration of COVID-19 lockdown on Friday with the announcement of a new list of restrictions that will go into effect provincewide at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 19.

Sources had hinted that the measures — which come a day after the Science Advisory Table's latest modelling projections, as has typically been the case throughout the pandemic — might include stricter limits for social gatherings, smaller indoor capacities at certain businesses, and the amendment of the term "fully vaccinated" to include only those who have received a booster shot.

And, they were mostly right, save for that last point (for now) — but a number of other rules are on the way, too, including new ones specifically for bars and restaurants.

Food and drink establishments will now sadly have to perform last call by 10 p.m. rather than 2 p.m., and close their doors by 11 p.m., save for takeout and delivery services — guidelines reminiscent of way earlier in lockdown.

Guests will also be limited to 10 people per table when dining in, and must remain seated (so no standing and mingling at the bar anymore).

Among the other new public health measures being implemented on Sunday are a ban on food or drink service at sports games, concerts, movie theatres and other venues; new capacity limits of 50 per cent in all indoor settings, including grocery stores and pharmacies; and cutting the maximum number of people permitted at social gatherings to 10 indoors or 25 outdoors.

"I know this is not the situation any of us wanted to be in, especially during the holiday season. But it's clear Omicron will not take a holiday," Dr. Kieran Moore, the province's chief medical officer of health, said at a press conference about the news on Friday afternoon.

"These measures will give us time to continue to vaccinate more Ontarians with booster doses that provide an additional layer of protection... these measures have worked before and will help us get through this."

Unfortunately, as we all well know by now, the introduction of new restrictions is a sure sign of more prohibitive ones to come down the road as case numbers continue to worsen.

So here's a very bitter welcome back to lockdown, which we never thought we'd see again!

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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